Next month I’ll be interviewing former NHL tough guy Brandt Myhres so I’m currently reading his upcoming memoir Pain Killer: A Memoir of Big League Addiction. After numerous failed drug tests and suspensions from the league over a few season, Myhres got himself banned from playing in the NHL. 

Last night I was reading a section where he was talking about his relationship with a particular girlfriend and just how completely he screwed up the relationship with her due to his drug use, drinking, and how he behaved when under the influence. While there were a lot of things that factored into Myhres addiction, the way he described not thinking he was good enough for that girlfriend. They split up several times, but she would take him back during his brief periods of sobriety, he’d start drinking and using again, and began to think maybe she wasn’t so great if she would be with someone as messed up as him. 

It occurred to me, right in the middle of reading this part that it sure sounded like he was sabotaging himself. Addiction is a disease, but the way he described how he felt in that relationship made me think that while he said he drank and used because it was fun, even though he felt like shit in the morning, it sure sounded like he didn’t think he was worth staying clean and sober (something he said himself later in the book).

Again, addiction is a disease and I know that trying to quit drugs and alcohol can be extremely difficult, though I haven’t had to face that myself. Addiction to drugs, particularly opiates these days, is a growing problem, but you don’t have to be addicted to be using drugs and alcohol to sabotage yourself.

Been hurt in a past relationship, but then meet someone amazing? Why would they want to be with you? Are they going to hurt you too? That’s what you might be thinking so you mess up the relationship by pushing them away, being mean or jealous, etc. You figure it’s going to end anyway, so you might as well get it over with.

Struggling in a math class? You’ve never been good at math so what’s the point of trying? You’re going to fail anyway, so you don’t put in the effort and sure enough, you fail.

See an advertisement for a job you’d love to have? You get all excited, but then talk yourself out of even applying because you’re sure they’ll never hire you.

We do this with our health, our relationships, our work, and every other area of our lives. We think we’re either not good enough / worthy overall, or at least at some aspect of our lives so we don’t even try or we actively screw things up because we’re going to fail or get hurt anyway. 

But here’s the thing, when you think that way, you’re wrong. When I think that way, I’m wrong. We’re all worthy of good health, of love, and of joy. What we’re not worthy of is sabotaging ourselves.

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